H&M is championing stability in an unexpected way: a campaign that takes place in the metaverse. No, this isn’t just a random adlib of words. The popular fashion retailer is launching the “H&M Loooptopia Experience” on the Roblox virtual gaming platform. The H&M Loooptopia Experience on Roblox is an immersive 3D experience that features a city square and game sessions in a gaggle of Roblox’s fantasy maps.
H&M has been testing the virtual gaming experience for the past few years. They’ve also been launching campaigns that champion sustainability. The company has been attempting to expand its digital product range and beat fast-fashion criticism as it struggles to keep up with innovators and competition like Zara.
Throughout the gaming experience, players collect coins to open loot boxes filled with fabrics in various colors and materials. Users begin in a city square setting and can explore a variety of alternate worlds like Rainbooow Fields, Neon Studiooo, and Fabric Fooorest. They can then enter the fabrics into a machine to create in-game digital outfits. The angle here is sustainability. In December, it teamed with The Institute of Digital Fashion on a three-part collection that included digital fashions, available to try on with augmented reality, and actual garments sold in-store.
Max Heirbaut, global head of metaverse brand experience at H&M, said, “Through the [new] experience on Roblox, we let players playfully experiment with materials and patterns, creating the next virtual garment and wardrobe for their avatar. In the coming years, H&M will continue to explore this fast-growing expanse of virtual and augmented realities.”
The effort, which balances self-expression through clothing and gaming but in a virtual sustainable way, should resonate with Gen Z. After all, 57% of that demographic report they feel freer to express themselves through gaming than they do in real life.
Keeping with the sustainability goal, players can recycle their clothing creations in exchange for elements that can be utilized for their runway appearance. H&M also includes themes of a newer sustainability method called circularity for the experience. The focus on sustainability could help the fast-fashion retailer battle criticisms from a Norway consumer watchdog agency due to the brand’s use of the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, which was said to go against the country’s rules on sustainability claims likely.
However, H&M’s latest foray into the metaverse could potentially be an extension of its chaotic history of tying sustainability with the metaverse. The retailer first launched virtual clothes for The Sims in 2007 via a collaboration with gaming company Electronic Arts. But, it wasn’t until 2021 that the brand started adding sustainability language into its virtual campaigns. In the same year, H&M came out with a PETA-approved digital fashion collection and its first “Looop” digital fashion island concept for the Nintendo game Animal Crossing.
Or, the Roblox immersive gaming platform could be a top metaverse environment for retailers to open stores and provide gamified virtual experiences. Fellow fast fashion retailer Forever 21 is already ahead of the curve. The company operates the Shop City virtual store on Roblox, where users can put together garments and even hire NPCs at their store. Build-A-Bear Workshop also launched a metaverse experience called “Build-A-Bear Tycoon.”
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